St. Patrick's Day is the time of year when many raise a glass in their local "authentic Irish" pub to Ireland's literary greats, from master satirist Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) to poet Seamus Heaney (1939-2013). In Japan too, the dynamic interaction of Ireland and Japan's literary traditions is a rich one; from William Butler Yeats adapting Noh plays to novelist Yasunari Kawabata and his modernist contemporaries being inspired by James Joyce's "Ulysses."

The literary link between these two nations is strengthened further by the story of William James Craig, an obscure, unsung Irishman who had an extraordinary impact on one of Japan's greatest writers.

At the center of this story is the novelist Natsume Soseki (1867-1916), who burst into profuse literary activity at the belated age of 37 with his landmark novel "I am a Cat," (1905) marking the beginning of Japan's literary golden age.